The silver lining in the cloud of high energy prices is the growing public support for domestic development of natural resources. Opinion polls, including data from California, show Americans are increasingly inclined to support drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In an effort to increase the domestic supply of oil and also to pressure Congressional Democrats not to extend the offshore ban, which expires September 30, on July 14 President Bush eliminated the executive order preventing offshore drilling.
Not surprisingly, Democratic congressional leaders and their special interest allies oppose adding new areas for development. Responding to the president’s initiative, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) charged, “Once again, the oilman in the White House is echoing the demands of Big Oil.” A representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council asserted that “Americans deserve policies that free us from fossil fuels and give us better choices that will bring down our energy costs, make our air cleaner, and help solve global warming."
Al Gore, sensing the political shift towards fossil fuels, generated national headlines last week when he called for all of the nation’s electricity to be produced by renewable energy sources in 10 years. “The idea that we can drill our way out of this is just so absurd,” Gore told the annual meeting of the yearly gathering of left-wing activists, Netroots Nation.
It’s tragic that key corporate giants are on the wrong side of the energy debate. Rather than recognize that our current economy is dependent on fossil fuels, too many CEOs have been seduced by the notion that corporate responsibility is defined by Al Gore’s view of climate science.
“Green” CEOs naively believed that they could navigate the social and political terrain and benefit financially by advocating for federal control of greenhouse gas emissions. Over 20 corporations participated in the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) – a lobbying coalition of industry and environmental special interest groups that sought cap-and-trade legislation to address global warming. The USCAP lobbying effort produced Lieberman-Warner – a cap-and-trade bill that, had it been adopted, would have increased energy prices, reduced economic growth.